Updated: 11/12/17 : 06:26:12
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Church carols kicks off with funds for Simon

CHURCH HOSTING of annual Christmas carol recitals kicked off in Sligo last night, Sunday.

Orpheus Choir set out to raise funds — and awareness — of Simon Community in the north west through its event in the Friary.

Eileen Magnier, RTE’s North West Correspondent, spoke briefly about the role of Simon in Sligo, where it has now opened a charity shop and HQ at Kennedy Parade.

This year’s event seemed more traditional than usual in its choice of carols; nothing as ‘new’ as “One Day Like This” by Elbow. 

That said, patrons come to hear the songs sung at this time of year only, and Hope in every one.

Accents Variety

For all that too, a high point saw musical director Austin McManus recite the Medieval Latin text of “Gaudete.”

Meanwhile, his Choir seamlessly underlined the several style changes and beauty in “Gaudete,” this 16th century hymn of praise.

More noticeable was the variety of other accents in the poems read on the night - Irish, Scottish, English. 

Pam Ayers poem was funny, as hers mostly are, but Mick McTighe nailed it with something very, very Irish.

Left: Eileen Magnier RTE’s North West Correspondent spoke about the role of Simon

There is music galore in the pictures of Patrick Kavanagh’s “A Christmas Childhood,” seen in the wonder of a six year old: 

“.....Outside in the cow-house my mother
Made the music of milking;
The light of her stable-lamp was a star
And the frost of Bethlehem made it twinkle.....”

Kavanagh was fifty years dead on November 30th last but his legions of poems will live on, though some could never be recited from an altar.

Sustained Applause

But the ‘accent’ of the night spoke no words at all; Ramona Sakalauskaite, top picture, classically trained from St Petersburg, let her harp do all the talking.

Ramona’s (too) brief solo recital drew two rounds of sustained applause; even the Orpheus Choir applauded. 

No surprise then that she was applauded again at the finale, leaving a good taste for next year’s “Carols By Candlelight” event. 

Finally, the Friary space is a natural venue for public recitals and we don’t see enough of them. 

Fr Gus Champion, a recent arrival as Prior in a church now in its eighth continuous century in Sligo Town, was there too, last night.